Can Police Officers Use Deception to Obtain Consent to Search?


It is well settled law that a search conducted without a warrant is likely unreasonable subject to a few exceptions.  One such exception is when the individual voluntarily consents to the search.  Once an individual voluntarily consents to a search his Constitutional protections are waived.   But what happens if an officer uses deception to get such consent.

The United Supreme Court has stated that when a prosecutor seeks to rely upon consent to justify the lawfulness of a search, he has the burden of proving that the consent was, in fact, freely and voluntary given.  A recent Ohio Court of Appeals held that a person cannot validly consent to a search when officers seeking to gain entry into a defendant's home without a search warrant use deception to obtain consent. 

The good defense attorney will inquire extensively into deception to obtain consent.